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SLTs’ conceptions about their own and parents’ roles during intervention with preschool children

Davies, KE and Marshall, J and Brown, LJE and Goldbart, J (2019) SLTs’ conceptions about their own and parents’ roles during intervention with preschool children. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. ISSN 1368-2822

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Abstract

© 2019 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Background: Current research investigating collaboration between parents and speech and language therapists (SLTs) indicates that the SLT role is characterized by therapist-led practice. Co-working with parents of children with speech and language difficulties is less frequently described. In order to embrace co-working during intervention, the SLT role may need to be reframed, focusing on acquiring skills in the role of coach as well as the role of planning intervention and treating children. Aims: To report (1) SLTs’ conceptions about their own roles during intervention for pre-school children with speech and language difficulties; and (2) SLTs’ conceptions of parents’ roles during intervention. Methods & Procedures: A qualitative study used individual, semi-structured interviews with 12 SLTs working with pre-school children. Open-ended questions investigated SLTs’ expectation of parents, experience of working with families, and the SLTs’ conception of their roles during assessment, intervention and decision-making. Thematic network analysis was used to identify basic, organizational and global themes. Results & Outcomes: SLTs had three conceptions about their own role during intervention: treating, planning and coaching. The roles of treating and planning were clearly formulated, but the conception of their role as coach was more implicit in their discourse. SLTs’ conception of parents’ roles focused on parents as implementers of activities and only occasionally as change agents. Conclusions & Implications: Collaboration that reflects co-working may necessitate changes in the conception about the role for both SLTs and parents. SLTs and parents may need to negotiate roles, with parents assuming learner and adaptor roles and SLTs adopting a coaching role to activate greater involvement of parents. Applying conceptual change theory offers new possibilities for understanding and enabling changes in SLTs’ conception of roles, potentially initiating a deeper understanding of how to achieve co-working during speech and language intervention.

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